Here is a great website inviting teachers to use insects in their classrooms:

Using Live Insects in Elementary Classrooms for Early Lessons in Life (various insects)
Grooming is a Good Thing Lesson Plan for Kindergarten (using flies!)

 

This unit was the best of the best of teaching. It showed that anything at all can be turned into a theme or project at any age. The kids brainstormed activities and could have gone on and on, which showed yet again how kids can take ownership of their own learning and can do incredible things when allowed to. It allowed me to do something slightly wacky in the dullest, most difficult part of winter. And it allowed me to be the kind of teacher I like to to be best: a facilitator of kids' enthusiastic learning.

Here's my philosophy of teaching.

I believe:
Learning must be a student centered activity.
It must be based on their interests (kids love bugs and grossing out adults)
It must be at their level of ability - no matter what their level (disabled, struggling, average, high, gifted, genius)
Students must identify their own goals and needs.
Learning must stretch them toward their next level of ability.
It must be integrated, as in real life. (eg building a house involves art, math, science, reading...)
It must involve students asking questions, and being responsible for finding the answers.
It must involve showing respect for the answers, and for differences in opinion.
It must be the individual's responsibility, and group's opportunity.
It must allow and require creativity and problem solving.
It will involve frustration, and will require patience.

I believe my role as a teacher is:

To see where specific focus and instruction will help reduce frustration.
To require practice to master skills and knowledge.
To facilitate by asking questions and setting standards.
To require and model an open mind and good attitude about learning.
To learn with and from my students, and articulate that.
To set timeframes, help keep work on track.
To help students identify their goals, and assess their accomplishments.
To ensure we have a safe and kind environment in which to work
To ensure we celebrate our learning and successes.
 

My initial goals were to have us learn about life cycles, write in as many different ways as possible, increase our comfort with technology, and cover all subjects if possible. Here are the objectives we ended up covering with this unit.

Language Arts
develop, define and spell new vocabulary
write poems, lists, recipes, stories, reports, biographies, announcements, journals, experiments, songs
use a variety of language tools to enhance writing, including alliteration, comparisons, descriptions, interesting words, homonyms, puns,
structure research from brainstorming questions through to final product
present final product with awareness of audience (font, size, cover)
make inferences from printed material
write key or essential points from text
print and type legibly
self-edit, peer-edit, and edit with teacher
demonstrate willingness to improve writing skills
demonstrate willingness to read new material
choose reading material appropriate to their own reading level and age

Science
understand and follow the scientific process in an experiment
identify questions and use experiments and research to find the answers
observe details
use senses to support observations
identify similarity and differences between species of flies, other insects, and other animals
observe, identify, name, draw the fly life cycle
compare the life cycle with that of other animals
understand the food chain and the fly's place in that
name the role flies and maggots play in the ecosystem
demonstrate understanding of what all living things need in order to survive
demonstrate respect for living things
display open-mindedness about learning something new

Art
see and represent details
draw flies in motion
blend colours
use a variety of types of line (thickness, shape)
use a variety of tools for drawing (pencil, computer mouse)
be aware of proportion, symmetry, and balance
use different points of view
photographic arts
use two computer programs for art
use colour and shape with words as art
use a variety of art forms to represent an object: drawing, painting, sculpture, photography

Math
use manipulatives and drawings to problem solve
use real and imaginary situations to problem solve
add, subtract, multiply and divide to 100
decide which operation to use when problem solving
present the answer to word problem in drawn, numerical and written form
tally and graph information

Computers
name the parts of a computer and their functions
find the internet
type in a simple URL
use a search engine (www.google.ca)
click on links
use a mouse as a pointer
click on thumbnails
open and understand the purpose of a word document
choose and change font and size to make it appropriate for audience and topic
use bold, underline, italics, undo, left, center, right buttons
use three different methods to select items for changing
use right click to cut, copy, paste, and correct spelling and grammar
use two different methods to save a document
use the program button to search for programs
use word art to make a title appropriate to the topic
download and insert a picture from clip art online
change the size and location of clip art in a piece
type using right and left hands on correct sides of the keyboard
draw using art program
practice patience and problem solving with computer problems

 

Other Ideas for this unit:
 

by Kitty Cochrane
fly language
research kinds of flies in locations all over the world (mapping)
obituaries and funeral ceremony
design a fly catcher (draw and construct)

by Michelle Miller
mealworm races
maggotzine (cartoons, maggot news items, letters to editor as a maggot, maggot cartoon)
 made up maggot language (gave a symbol for each letter)
maggot hairstyles
make a bug 'hospital' with a waiting room (when
they become pupae) and a maternity ward for when they 'hatch'

 

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